RV Museum..

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My uRV
My uRV.. I’m kind of proud of how it turned out.

On my most recent uRV trip I visited the RV Museum in Elkhart Indiana.  Being that I have spent the last three years converting my twenty-five year old pickup truck with a six foot cap into a rat-rod micro-RV I wanted to learn a little more about the beginnings of that idea.

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Mine is kind of similar…

John Steinbeck, who as one of my favorite authors when I was growing, up wrote a book entitled “Travels with Charley” about when he custom built a pickup truck into an RV he named Rocinante (Don Quixote’s horse) and traveled around the country with it. I have read that book at least a dozen times now and it was the inspiration for me making my own version of vehicle and doing the same thing, sort of…

Anyway, the RV Museum was an interesting visit. There were many historic vehicles on display. Most seemed to be from California. I don’t really know why northwest Indiana became the RV-manufacturing capital, that is a story I will have to study up on that.

Here are some pictures from that visit.

As usual click on any pic to see a larger slideshow view 

Religion In America – Zoar Village Ohio

ISOA Banner    I will start off this series of religion in America with the latest place I visited and that is Zoar Village in central Ohio.  I visited here last summer on one of my frequent micro-RV trips.  As is common in many historical religious settlements it is on the National Register of Historic Places.

2017-05-21_09-41-38.pngMost of the info for this post was obtained from the book shown to the right which contains hundreds of pictures of the village throughout its history.  The book was purchased at the village but is also available from Amazon.

Zoar village was settled by Lutheran separatists escaping persecution in Germany in the early 1800s. In Germany at that time the state and church were one and the same. It ran the schools and most civic ceremonies. A group of “Zoarites” or “Separatists” as they were called refused to attend the mandated church, or to send their kids to church run schools and because of their non-violence beliefs refused to serve in the army. As a result many were flogged, imprisoned, had their children and land stripped from them and turned over to the state.

With the help of English Quakers they emigrated to America.  The American Quakers also helped them initially settle near Philadelphia.  But Joseph Bimeler, who became their leader during their three month journey to America had no patience for the well-meaning Quakers and found land in “far-off” Ohio for his group to settle and thus the village of Zoar Ohio was formed.

Separatists had an abiding faith in the Bible and thought that each person should have a “direct” relationship with God.  They also believed in the imminent return of Christ so each individual had to purge himself or herself of evil and become a living example of virtue.  In rebellion to the church they left their worship services were stripped of all ceremony.  Because of the imminent return they also believed in celibacy which demanded that households be divided by sex. That practice ended after about ten years.

By about 1850 the population of Zoar had reached about 500 and land values of the town exceeded $1 million.  However a year later Bimeler died and no one was able to successfully take his place,  and as a result that started years of decline of the town. In March of 1898 to society of Zoar formally decided to disband and everything was basically sold at auction soon thereafter. The remaining 200 or so members were given $200 and a piece of real estate.

As we will learn in future posts on this subject the final fate of the village was similar to many other religious settlements. Today the village of Zoar is struggling to find the resources to maintain the town.  It has lost much of its attraction as a tourist site which kept it going for some time.

Click on any pic below to see a larger slideshow view..

 

Celebrating Bad Grammar??

HavingMySay Banner    canstockphoto21440849.jpg I ran across a blog site today that celebrates bad grammar.  The author claimed that using proper grammar was just too conformist. He wants to be a radical so he uses bad grammar. I kinda think that he has a deeper underlying reason?

Celebrating our mistakes in life leads to nothing more than going deeper and deeper down the well. Eventually we run out of light to even find our way back.

It’s kind of like that cable show that celebrates obesity. I think it is called something like “My Big Beautiful Life”. The star dances around, at least until she runs out of breath, as if to celebrate that she is 100 lbs over weight.  She claims she never wants to be “normal”.

Next thing you know someone will show up celebrating cancer or pedephilia.

I have always said the the true source of these kind of things is simply laziness.  Too many of us just don’t want to do the work to make ourselves better than we are. It seems that is a sad fact of life in today’s world.

Simple Yet Evocative

Snippet Banner  I came across a blog site (The Drabble)  the other day that spoke to my heart.  Actually the site came across me by “liking” one of my very short posts. The words simple, yet evocative pieces that capture what it means to be human described the purpose of the site.  Simple yet evocative says it all for me.  It is hard to do both but when it is done successfully it is genius and many of the posts I reviewed on that blog did just that.

I have been on a “Simplicity” binge for about 5 years now. For me at least, life is just 2017-05-17_10-45-40.pnggetting too complicated even in my retirement years.  Everyone seems to be on a razor’s edge now and can’t see much joy in life. Since this is the only go-around we have if you waste your life with worry and fear it is indeed wasted and gone forever. It is definitely time for simplicity in my, and most others’ lives.

Getting back to the theme of this post. Simple yet evocative, is something that is very difficult to do.  One of my favorite sayings is from a folk singer legend Pete Seeger:

Any damn fool can get complicated. It takes a genius to obtain simplicity.

It is easy to make things complicated. Just look at all those yahoos inside the Washington DC beltway for evidence of that. We need folks who can take complicated and give us simple answers.   That is what most of those who voted for the current president were hoping for but the rest of us knew he was just too flawed to actually live up to any of his hyper rhetoric.

We also need simplicity from ourselves.  Your life is not really as complicated as you think it is. Millions and millions of people have faced the same struggles as you are and still found joy and happiness and that is what I personally intend to do for my remaining years.

I naively think I will take a serious crack at  Simple yet evocative here on RJsCorner. I think that melds very well with my desire to write some prose.  Simple yet evocative is difficult to achieve but I think I am up to it.  How about you??

Sunday’s Religion In America Series..

ISOA Banner  My intention going into the new RJsCorner was that I would use Sunday to sometimes post about things religious. With that in mind I thought I would start a new series about the founding of the U.S. by people escaping religious persecution in other countries. I probably have a couple of dozen of these type communities I have visited over the years of traveling across this country. This post will start us off on this direction.

canstockphoto18444062.jpgThese posts will probably be more about our country’s history than religious beliefs. They will highlight communities throughout the country that were started by groups of people  with a particular set of beliefs that oftentimes differed from sect they originally belonged to. So, it is hard to categorize them in one particular category. They will often be “Reports” in my journey In Search of America.

When most people, especially those from outside looking in, see Christianity they think of one homogeneous community with one set of religious beliefs. In reality that could not be further from the truth.  There are over 35,000 different versions of Christianity and that number is increasing year after year. There always seems to be reason for one segment of a sect to separate from another. To many, like Martin Luther, latch onto one particular sentence of the Bible and disregard much of the rest.

Of course my personal bias will show through in these reports. How can that be otherwise?  So, I want to tell you a little about my beliefs here. I currently do not call myself a “religious” person but I am an avid follower of the teachings of Jesus Christ.  To me it just seems that most, if not all, of the current religious denominations almost ignore Jesus’ teachings and instead fixate on some words invented by someone long after his death.

Closing this post, this will be an interesting series for me and I hope you will learn a few things from it.  In Search of America is a broad topic indeed and this is an important segment…

They Come And Go..

Spring is my absolute favorite season. Everything springs to life after a cold and often cruel winter.  The menagerie of flowers that quickly come and go is sometimes breathtaking.

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Click on the picture to see a larger version

Creativity and Age..

Let’s face it, most people believe that old people just can’t be creative.  Of course, the definition of old varies widely among those with that belief. Some think if you are past 30 you are drained of creativity. You can call this bias if you want since it is pretty much ingrained into our society. I think the average age of the employees of Silicon Valley tech companies is about 30.

canstockphoto25890140.jpgBut in reality, some people get more creative as they grow older.   A 2016 Information Technology and Innovation Foundation study found that inventors peak in their late 40s and tend to be highly productive in the last half of their careers. I had a couple of mundane patents when I was working in the corporate world but for the most part, I never considered myself to be creative until I left that world in my early 50s.

It was not until I opened up my own custom cabinets shop that the creative bug bit me. I designed and built a wide line of custom made furniture. No two customers wanted exactly the same thing so my creative juices were constantly used during that six year period.  Like most things in my life, after I get good at something I usually also get bored with it and am ready to move on to something else.

In the twelve years since shutting down that furniture making shop my creative energies have gone into my photography and writing. I have done a lot of traveling in my region of the country and beyond. For me personally my creativity has grown as I have aged. Part of that might be due to the stifling atmosphere of many large companies. I can still remember one of my corporate bosses saying to embrace risk but to never fail?  If you never fail are you embracing risk?  That logic escaped me then and still does.

 

 

 

 

 

High Tech/High Touch And The Good Old Days

crayon-banner   Back in the beginnings of this technology race we are currently in there was a saying “High Tech/High Touch” meaning that as technology becomes more prevalent we need to also be exposed to more real thing we can feel and touch.  That saying, along with so much more seems to have been lost on the ash heap of time. But I personally kind of enjoy seeing and visiting the time when we weren’t so dependant on our techie stuff.

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Making For A Better Life

HavingMySay Banner    I have been spending some serious time lately trying to come up with better ways to spend the remaining time of my life here on earth.  How can I be happier and less stressful about my life in particular and in general the world today?

canstockphoto23671011Several reasons probably prompted this search. One is that I turned 70 not long ago. This birthday hit me much harder than any other. I don’t think I really had a mid-life crisis so maybe this is my version of it to be called late-life crisis.  The other primary reason is my recent brain trauma event of which I am still recovering and could have ended my life.  These two events, along with probably many other more minor factors has just got me deeply thinking about how I have lived my life and how I can make it better in my final years.

One of the conclusions I have come to is that I just spend too much time focusing on what is wrong with things. My first thoughts on just about any topic is to find something to make the situation better. That is my contrarian nature that gives me a particular insight about many things and that in itself is a good thing.  But sometimes it just gets in the way of just enjoying life.  Another root cause is that I overthink way too much. Somethings should just be enjoyed for what they are without considering how to make them better and some should just be accepted as they are without a lot of thought.

Miscommunications is a big part of my dealings with others and that often bothers me. This misunderstanding is probably due to my apparent Asperger’s Syndrome. I forget that my way of looking at things is often quite different from others. For instance, I too often assume that others are uncaring about a situation because they don’t know the details that I do. Healthcare and our nation’s military spending are two of the more serious topics in this arena.  I think we all have a tendency to egocentrically put our own perspective on to others so it’s worth remembering that everyone’s attention shows the world in a particular way, and what gets spotlighted differs from person to person. I need to understand that going forward.

These are just a few of the topics that have been stewing in my mind lately. I’m sure I will have much more to say about other areas in the coming months.  In the meantime, I will try my darndest to chill out a little more and not let things that I have little control over  get me so upset. I think that is a pretty good start.

I would love to hear some of the things that you struggle with that get in the way of a happier life. We can all learn something from each other on this topic.

Taking The Long View..

HavingMySay Banner  I will say upfront that I am a regular customer at Amazon. I shop there more than everywhere else combined, except for food and medicine that is. I am an Amazon guy.

2017-05-03_10-21-22.pngWhen Jeff Bezos came upon the scene in the late 1990s with the simple idea of selling books online I thought he was a guy for the 21st century. He was taking the long view when most CEO’s were anguishing over the next quarter’s profit. Amazon has grown even beyond my expectations. Their two-day delivery is beyond belief in the corporate world.

I saw the other day the following quote from him it is “Day 1” which allows Amazon to continually move forward.  According to him Day 2 is stasis followed by irrelevance, followed by death. So, to Jeff, it will always be Day 1.

Another important distinction between Mr. Bezos and the typical current day CEO is that he practices the theory of the three-legged stool. That is that all corporations are made of up a mix of owners/stockholder, customers, and employees, and that attention should be given to all three legs to keep the corporation balanced.  That used to be the norm but during the Reagan years and the hyped MBA programs, the total attention was given to the owners.  Some people call this “shareholder capitalism” vs “stakeholder capitalism.”

When Amazon went public, Bezos wrote a shareholder letter that basically said he wasn’t going to worry about them (the shareholders).  Instead, his total attention would be customer satisfaction.  Everything he does is skewed towards customer satisfaction.

Fast forward to today and Amazon is the fastest growing corporation and has the most loyal customers and highest customer satisfaction.  Yes, there is harping about how much he demands from this employees. He wants them to be as focused as he is on customer satisfaction and some simple can’t do that.  Some complain that they are losing their jobs to automation/robots but that is normal for today and is a step forward to me.

Amazon is always looking for ways to do things more efficiently  and as a result sometimes jobs change in the process. Amazon is about embracing change and that is what a 21st-century corporation should be about, at least in my twisted mind.  🙂